Are you dreaming of a small and intimate Scottish castle wedding? If so, Charlotte and Zak’s magical wedding at Kilmartin Castle in Argyll, Scotland, could be just the inspiration that you need! When these two first met, they quickly discovered their shared love of history. Many of their early dates involved visiting historic places, and imaging the lives of those who had trodden there centuries before… So when they came to plan their romantic wedding in Scotland, it seemed only natural to choose a castle wedding venue with a rich sense of history… And there are few places more historic than Kilmartin Glen on the west coast of Scotland! The history of this area spans a breath-taking 5,000 years. The glen has a multitude of cairns, standing stones, carved rocks and stone circles. So it was the perfect setting for two history lovers to tie the knot!
Read on to see the full story of Charlotte and Zak’s fairy-tale Scottish castle wedding day…
Kilmartin Castle sits a stone’s throw from Kilmartin Village with a communing view of the valley. The castle was originally built in 1550 for John Carswell, Rector of Kilmartin Glen and later Bishop of The Isles, where he lived for around 15 years before moving to his new residence at Carnasserie Castle (now ruined), just 1.5 miles north of Kilmartin. The castle passed into the hands of the Campbell Clan, one of the largest and most powerful of the Highland clans, who owned it for many years. But the Campbells eventually abandoned it, and the castle remained a ruin for well over 200 years.
That was until the castle’s current owners, Stef and Simo, rescued the ruin and (after a lengthy restoration project) reopened it as an Airbnb in 2019. With a mixture of love, dedication and an incredibly artistic eye, they’ve created a small and intimate one-of-a-kind castle wedding venue that we absolutely love!
Charlotte and Zak’s wedding day began peacefully, as they got ready separately in different corners of the castle. The beauty of choosing a characterful and historic wedding venue like this is that there are so many amazing spaces to choose from; lots of visual texture and soft light that translates into really filming photos! Charlotte had been very intentional about the whole day, which was imbued with her love of things from days gone-by, from her vintage nightgown, to her wedding dress design and footwear — all of them were very carefully chosen to fit in seamlessly with the atmosphere of the castle and the look of the space.
Charlotte’s bridesmaids, both best friends for many years, joined her to celebrate. Together they did their own hair and make-up… with a lot of laughter and fun and girl-chat along the way. It was a really relaxed and intimate way to begin the day. Charlotte had been careful to schedule their ceremony for mid-afternoon, to give herself plenty of time for a morning. She was (very sensibly!) keen to avoid any sense of rush or stress on her wedding day! This is definitely something that we would recommend. We find that things have a habit of taking a lot longer than you’re expecting on a wedding day. Allowing double the time than you think you will actually need for everything is a sure-fire way to enjoy a relaxed and stress-free day!
Zak got ready with his brother, who was also tasked with being his best man, in the Great Hall at Kilmartin Castle. It’s an amazing space full of antiques and French flea-market finds. It’s definitely a room that feels like it has a lot of stories to tell from the feasts and banquets thats it’s witnessed through the centuries. Zak and his brother enjoyed plenty of brotherly banter as they helped each other into their wedding clothes, and enjoyed a pre-ceremony toast to steady their nerves.
Charlotte chose a ‘cap’ veil and dried flowers in warm and rustic tones to complete her Scottish castle wedding look. We really thought that she looked like one of Jane Austen’s heroines… or one of the leading ladies in the tv series ‘Outlander’! We think it’s great when couples start with the character of their wedding venue and then draw style inspiration and ideas from that. It’s a great way to ensure that your outfits will really chime-with the setting and everything will feel ‘all of a piece’.
Almost before we knew it, it was ceremony time! Charlotte and Zak had created a beautiful rustic flower arch in the castle grounds for their ceremony. They decorated it with flowers from their garden that they’d spent a year collecting and drying. It was such a special touch and made a beautiful backdrop against which to exchange their vows. All their effort definitely paid-off!
After their beautiful and moving ceremony, it was time to let their hair down and celebrate with their friends and family. The champagne fizzed, the glasses chinked, laughter and excited chatter floated across the castle lawns. Charlotte and Zak had very much wanted their wedding to feel like a relaxed and informal house-party. No fuss, no stress, just a joyful few days making great memories with all of their favourite people. As we watched them chatting and laughing, it was so lovely to see their dream of their wedding day become a reality.
Charlotte and Zak were keen to take a bit of time out of their day to enjoy some romantic time away from their guests, so that they could enjoy being together in this beautiful and peaceful corner of Scotland, and just let the ‘just married’ moment sink-in a little. So, after their ceremony, we left their guests enjoying drinks and games in the Kilmartin Castle gardens, and headed-off into their fields. We spent some time exploring some historic locations in the area, and chasing sea mists on the coasts. Afterwards, Charlotte and Zak said that it was one of their favourite parts of the day.
We feel that it’s so valuable for couples to take some time to themselves during their wedding day. Honestly, every single couple we’ve worked with has said that they couldn’t believe how quickly time on their wedding day slipped-by. There’s always so much going-on, and so much energy and excitement, that things can whizz-by in a bit of a blur. Taking time away, just the two of you, is a chance to slow things down a little. To be in the moment and really enjoy being together on your wedding day.
As darkness fell, Charlotte and Zak headed back to Kilmartin Castle to rejoin their friends and family. They had laid-out an incredible candle-lit dinner spread, complete with a chocolate wedding cake. The evening entertainment took the form of a Storyteller, who regaled everyone with traditional folk tales and ghost stories from all around the world. It was such a novel idea, and it was a great hit with everyone, especially the children!
Some kind words from Charlotte and Zak:
Charlotte: “We just wanted to thank you guys so much for all our wedding photos. They are absolutely incredible and you have captured our day so beautifully, we are so grateful! We are so thankful to have found you guys and that we chose to have an adventure, exploring the beautiful scenery around Kilmartin. Such special memories.
Zak: “I can’t thank you enough for the pictures. The way you have caught the day is amazing. You’re both masters of your craft. We laughed, cried and just felt nothing but happiness. Honestly from the bottom of my heart thank you.
We love you both guys so much!”
We left as night fell on Kilmartin Castle. The owls were calling and a soft summer mist was beginning to creep over the glen. There was a stillness in the air, and a magical, timeless quality to the evening. A perfect end to the final chapter of Charlotte and Zak’s small and intimate Scottish castle wedding day.
If this day resonates with you, speak to us about how we can help you find and capture this magic for yourselves.